Listeriosis in animals

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Encephalitic form in a female sheep

Listeriosis is an infectious but not contagious disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, far more common in domestics animals (domestic mammals and poultry), especially ruminants, than in human beings. It can also occur in feral animals—among others, game animals—as well as in poultry and other birds.

The causative bacterium lives in the soil and in poorly made silage, and is acquired by ingestion. It is not contagious; over the course of a 30-year observation period of sheep disease in Morocco, the disease only appeared in the late 2000s (decade) when feeding bag-ensiled corn became common.[1] In Iceland, the disease is called "silage sickness".[2]

The disease is sporadic, but can occur as farm outbreaks in ruminants.

Three main forms are usually recognized throughout the affected species:

Listeriosis in animals can sometimes be cured with antibiotics (tetracyclines and benzyl penicillin) when diagnosed early. Goats, for example, can be treated upon noticing facial paralysis,[4][citation needed] but is generally fatal.

Listeriosis in sheep[edit]

Lateral deviation of head and neck

In sheep, the disease is also called the "circling disease".[5] The most obvious signs for the veterinarians are neurological, especially lateral deviation of the neck and head.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Lucien Mahin, Observations on diseases of sheep in Morocco, 1977-2007, unpublished data.[better source needed]
  2. ^ Siegmund, Otto H. (1967). The Merck veterinary manual: a handbook of diagnosis and therapy for the veterinarian (3rd ed.). Merck. p. 419.
  3. ^ Roger W. Blowey & A. David Weaver, Color Atlas of Diseases and Disorders of Cattle, Elsevier, Oxford, ISBN 0-7234-3205-8.
  4. ^ "Listeriosis in sheep and goats". Michigan State University. Retrieved 2019-02-25.
  5. ^ Rue Jensen & Brinton L. Swift, Diseases of sheep, Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia ISBN 0-8121-0836-1, p. 159.
  6. ^ "Overview of Listeriosis - Generalized Conditions". Merck Veterinary Manual.
  7. ^ "Listeria monocytogenes - Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Agents".

External links[edit]